2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Utterly unique, and fun, combination of dramatization and documentary,
This review is from: American Splendor [DVD]  (DVD)
The true story of Harvey Pekar, a misanthropic file clerk and comic
book fan, who met Robert Crumb, and had the brilliant idea to turn his
everyday trials and tribulations into a comic book. Sort of everyman as
The film has Paul Giamatti and Hope Davis (both uncanny and terrific)
playing the real life Harvey and his off-beat mate, while occasionally
the real Harvey comments on it all ('this guy you got playin' me...')
either in narration, or on camera in a kind of white room limbo set.
So, like the comic, the film plays with levels of reality, but goes it
one better. There's the real Harvey, his lightly fictionalized
counter-part from the cartoons, and the two actors, who seem to be
playing a combination of both real and comic book creation.
Its all wonderfully playful and funny but still has room to be quite
touching and human on occasion, and raises all sorts of interesting
questions about what is 'truth' in storytelling and in life - what is a
'documentary'?, Are our own accounts of lives 'true?
It's a house of mirrors that leaves you smiling, thoughtful and touched
at the dignity and insight of 'normal' people - which seems to be a big
part of Pekar's seemingly grumpy argument. A lovely film with humor,
heart and art that goes out and creates its own rules.